Winter can seem interminable here in the frozen north(!), but there are the occasional little gems to brighten the day.
Heron in an ash tree.
It always seems a little incongruous to see a heron (Ardea cinerea
) sitting in a tree. I saw one today high in an ash (Fraxinus excelsior
) at the end of my garden. It isn't unusual to see them in trees though - they do nest in them after all. I quite often see one on the roof of a neighbour's house where it looks equally out of place. Today's bird was, I think, checking out my pond (perhaps for signs of early frogs). The smaller birds approached it but stopped short of mobbing it. It left when I attempted to take a picture - they are very wary birds.
Equally wary and even harder to photograph (because of their smaller size) were the redwings (Turdus iliacus
) which visited the cotoneaster (Cotoneaster frigidus
) in my garden today. I've seen them in the garden a couple of times this winter, but today there was a flock of seven - more than on the previous occasions. They visited briefly last year (on the 28th January
) and once eight years previous to that, so they really are a treat. Redwings are a very pretty bird too: they are unmistakably a small thrush but with very attractive head stripes and markings on the throat. Best of all is a subtle but beautiful red patch in their 'armpits'.